This is unlikely. Let’s be clear about that right away.
Yet, as unlikely as this might sound, it’s also plausible.
Is President Donald Trump–who was so hell-bent six weeks ago to sign his Executive Order to put a travel ban in place against immigrants from seven primarily Muslim nations—toying with the idea of further delaying Travel Ban 2.0 or, at least, offering up a much softer version?
Before you dismiss it out of hand, let’s review some of the signs of the past couple of weeks.
A LOSS OF URGENCY
The Trump administration was supposed to announce the newer version of the ban two weeks ago, with officials including press secretary Sean Spicer saying that the language was being refined and would be more precise so as to avoid the current problem—a lawsuit filed by the states of Washington, Minnesota and Oregon that has been upheld by federal judges, effectively rescinding the travel ban for now. The introduction of a new travel ban has been postponed three times in the last two weeks, including the latest in which administration officials told CNN it would not be until next week.
A PRODUCTIVE SPEECH
While Donald Trump is certainly a provocative and sometimes divisive figure, it was generally agreed upon that the tone of his speech earlier this week in his first address to a joint session of Congress was presidential and fairly well-received. The positive impact and reaction to the speech caused administration officials to call off Wednesday’s planned announcement. They felt it would take away any progress Trump might have made with those still sitting on the fence about his presidency and with those on the other side of the aisle.
SIGNS OF LENIENCY
Whenever the new travel ban is announced, there will be changes, as several media outlets are reporting. For one, Iraq will be taken off the list of seven countries where immigrants were banned from entering the United States in the first iteration of the travel ban—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Syria. That’s one step. A new travel ban will also now allow legal permanent residents and existing visa holders to enter the country.
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY ANALYSIS
As it turns out, even Trump’s own administration all but refuted the president’s claim that the reason for the travel ban was to keep radical Islamic terrorists from those seven nations out of the country. An Associated Press story found that analysts at the Department of Homeland Security found insufficient evidence that citizens from those countries posed a terror threat to the United States. A draft document obtained by the AP concludes that citizenship is an "unlikely indicator" of terrorism threats to the United States and that few people from the countries Trump listed in his travel ban have carried out attacks or been involved in terrorism-related activities in the U.S. since Syria's civil war started in 2011.
These are but a few clues that might portend a shifting political philosophy when it comes to the travel ban.